Training & Tips


Welcome to an exciting opportunity and challenge!  To encourage and support participation in the ride as well as overall wellness, the Bike For Backpacks organizing committee has put together the following training outline that may help you prepare.

Download the 10-Week Training Plan Here


The key to success is time in the “saddle”.  Your body needs to get used to riding for 5-7 hours at a time in a riding position.  Below is the suggested schedule to support an optimal experience.  The intensity of workouts escalates with periodic days off to allow for recovery.

Week Multiple Short Rides – Cumulative Long Ride #1 Long Ride #2 Weekly Total Hours
1 2:30 1:00 1:30 5:00
2 3:00 1:30 2:00 6:30
3 2:00 2:00 Day off 4:00
4 3:30 2:00 2:30 8:00
5 3:30 2:30 3:00 9:00
6 2:00 2:00 Day off 4:00
7 4:30 3:00 3:30 11:00
8 5:00 3:00 4:00-5:00 12:00
9 3:30 2:00 2:00 7:30
10 0:30 Day 1 of ride

The above plan provided by expert Gail Bernhardt, USA Triathlon Coach – See the complete article with additional suggestions here

Additional training preparation tips:

  1. This years ride will be at a high altitude so be sure and do some riding in the mountains.
  2. Nutrition is as important as training.
    1. Focus on lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.
    2. Avoid nutrient and stamina depleting foods such as refined sugars, alcohol and processed foods.
    3. Hydration is critical both before, during and after training rides.
  3. Rest is critical so ensure you are getting adequate sleep during your training time, ideally 8 hours per day.


Rides through the Rocky Mountains mean beautiful scenery, challenging trails and…altitude challenges. It’s important to prepare properly for high altitude rides. Even the most experienced riders can be caught off guard by altitude changes.

Know What to Expect
Acute Mountain Sickness can occur when adjusting to high altitudes. You should be prepared for headaches, fatigue, a stuffy nose and dizziness. The good news? Once this occurs it doesn’t usually get worse and will subside on it’s own.

Take Your Time
If possible, give yourself a few days to adjust to the new altitude. It’s important to know that even if you’ve had a few days to adjust, the first few days of riding will require extra effort. Take it slowly, stay hydrated, enjoy the scenery and be safe.

Accept New Limits
High altitude biking requires more frequent and longer breaks. Make sure to account for these in your schedule and be prepared with nutritious snacks and water to enjoy during each break.

Be Prepared for Weather
The Rocky Mountains are known for quick and unpredictable weather changes. Temperature drops also occur quickly in high altitude environments. Make sure you have rain gear and layers that can be quickly changed

Quick Tips

  • Stay hydrated
  • Wear sunscreen – you have an increased likelihood of sunburn at higher altitudes
  • Alert your group if you don’t feel well
  • Make sure to bring appropriate attire for all weather conditions
  • Consult your doctor before the ride for advice on managing altitude


1. Cycling Citizenship
Along with the right to cycle come responsibilities. Familiarize yourself with all applicable traffic laws and cycling rules. Each state has its own set; be aware of them. Motorists will be much more willing to accept cyclist’s rightful place on the road if cyclists act lawfully and respectfully. Do not run stop signs or red lights or use the wrong side of the street. It is best and safest to ride single file. If you are not blocking traffic and if the laws in your state permit it, there are times it is safe to ride two abreast. However, on narrow curvy canyon roads it is always best to ride single file. Riding responsibly will do wonders towards easing tensions and fostering a more harmonious environment between motorists and cyclists.

2. Right On
It is generally either illegal or unsafe to ride on a sidewalk or on the road towards oncoming traffic. As a rule, it is best to ride in the direction of traffic, staying as far to the right as is practical. However, make sure there is room to handle emergencies and that you do not ride so close to the right that you run the risk of hitting the curb and being thrown into traffic. There are times when you simply cannot stay to the far right—whether it’s to overtake another cyclist or vehicle, to make a left turn, or to avoid a hazard. Be sure to wait for a safe opportunity and use the proper hand signals when you take a lane.

3. Join In
If you are traveling at the same speed as other traffic, it may be safer to jump in and ride with traffic; because, this may make you more visible to motorists. Joining traffic is sometimes necessary because the road is simply too narrow for both a bike and a car. It is a particularly good idea to take a lane and join traffic before an intersection to make your presence known—especially for right-turning drivers who may not see you as they start their turn.

When you do join traffic, make sure you never pass on the right. This is always dangerous, but particularly so in an intersection. By waiting directly behind a vehicle, you can see a car’s signals; otherwise, you never know if the motorist is about to make a right turn and hit you.

4. Use Your Head
Regardless if you’re going to the corner store or heading out on a marathon ride, always wear a helmet. Make sure it is properly fastened and fitted. (The helmet should fit snugly and not move when you shake your head.)

5. Seeing Eye to Eye
Make eye contract with drivers whenever possible. This ensures that the motorists see you and helps you assert your rightful place on the road. This “personal connection” reminds motorists that you are indeed real LIFE in need of attention and protection. Once you make that connection, motorists may give you more respect on the road.

6. The Road Straightly Traveled
Try to ride consistently and predictably. For instance, at an intersection, do not veer into the crosswalk and then suddenly reappear on the road again. Don’t thread through parked cars. With such erratic behavior, motorists will not be aware of your presence when you try to re-emerge into traffic. (Inconsistent conduct increases your chances of being squeezed out of traffic or, worse, getting hit.)

7. Playing Defense
Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings. Know what is behind you and watch out for what is in front of you. Always be on the lookout for road hazards; sand and gravel, glass, railroad tracks, parked cars, snow and slush can wreak havoc on you and your bike. Sewer grates and cracks in the road can catch your wheel and cause you to be thrown from the bike. Watch for parked cars where people may be opening doors on the driver side of the vehicle without looking. Always wait until you have ample time to make your move, whether you are changing a lane or turning a corner. Do not expect to be granted the right of way in any instance.

8. Flaunt It
Make your presence felt. Wear bright color clothing. At night or in inclement weather, it is important to use reflective lights in the front, side and rear that make you visible from all directions.

9. Helping Hands
Emergencies happen. Be prepared. Always make sure you have at least one hand on your handlebars, no matter what. Know and use your hand signals whenever you are changing lanes or making a turn.

10. Brake Away
Make sure your brakes are always in top-notch condition. Be aware of how weather and road conditions can effect your ability to brake.